The demographics of an aging population in conjunction with the increasing velocity of technological advancements are dramatically shifting the face of healthcare around the world. This shift is forcing businesses to rethink their business models and portfolios to better align with these new realities.
At 3M, we strive to apply science in innovative ways to greatly improve people’s lives. One focus is creating new digitally-enabled solutions to improve the quality of life for those affected with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
COPD is a respiratory disease that makes it difficult to breathe – and it only worsens over time. An estimated 65 million people worldwide have moderate to severe COPD, and it is set to become the third-leading cause of mortality by 2030. Many COPD patients find inhalers, the treatment standard for these patients, difficult to use properly – if they use them at all.
3M’s Drug Delivery Systems Division has created the new 3M™ Intelligent Control Inhaler, a breakthrough device that has been shown in a clinical trial to significantly reduce errors in technique and thereby improve drug delivery and potential drug efficacy. This next generation electronic inhaler comes with a companion smart phone app that is designed to drive patient engagement, increase adherence to prescribing instructions and improve quality of life. In aggregate, these factors are believed to lead to a reduction in healthcare resource utilization.
Health care innovation using digital solutions and data analytics is on the mind of many healthcare companies. For example, Aetna’s Innovation Labs uses “big data” to predict a person’s metabolic syndrome risk, which is precursor to type II diabetes. Through innovative thinking and digital technology, Aetna is able to study health information and give a one-year risk profile to patients.
Innovation starts with a single idea. This idea has the potential to spark new products, procedures and services to realize our common goal of helping respiratory patients breathe better and live healthier lives. The use of smart products and the data collected from them is already transforming healthcare and curbing rising costs. There has never been a more exciting time to be in healthcare. The future is here—already.